Shay Given hopes to make the most of ‘clean slate’ under new Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood

Alan Foley

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Alan Foley

Shay Given hopes to make the most of ‘clean slate’ under new Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
Shay Given hopes his man of the match performance in the FA Cup on Sunday will be enough to claim a first team place in the Premier League.

Shay Given hopes his man of the match performance in the FA Cup on Sunday will be enough to claim a first team place in the Premier League.

Given, who turns 39 in April, helped Aston Villa to a 2-1 win over Leicester City.

The Lifford native has frequently kept goal under Paul Lambert in only the cup competitions for the midlanders since losing his No 1 spot to Brad Guzan in September 2012.

Lambert was sacked as Villa manager last week as the club slipped into the bottom three in the Premier League.

Caretaker manager Scott Marshall opted to start with Given against Leicester and following a bland first half that ended 0-0, Tim Sherwood, who has since been named as manager, took the half-time team talk.

“He came in and was just basically very positive,” Given said of Sherwood. “He just told the lads to go out and express themselves.”

Given, who was at Blackburn Rovers as a teenager when Sherwood captained the Lancashire club to the 1994/95 Premier League title, had made a flying one-handed save to tip away a Matty James drive before the break.

After it, the 127-times capped goalkeeper made a timely double stop at the feet of Andrej Kramaric.

Goals from Christian Benteke and Scott Sinclair were enough to seal a 2-1 win.

“When the new manager comes in it’s a clean slate for everyone,” Given said afterwards. “I have plenty to offer and I hope that Tim sees that.”

Villa, who will face West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park in the quarter-finals on Saturday, March 7, welcome Stoke City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Shane Duffy’s Blackburn have been paired with Liverpool in the last eight, with the Anfield fixture taking place on Sunday, March 8.

That’s because Blackburn enjoyed an excellent 4-1 win over Premier League Stoke City in the fifth round on Saturday at Ewood Park.

Josh King scored a hat-trick for Rovers, while Rudy Gestede was also a goalscorer after the visitors had taken the lead through Peter Crouch.

On Tuesday night, Blackburn were back in Championship action against Cardiff City in a 1-1 draw and are home to Blackpool on Saturday.

There was no place for Stephen McLaughlin from the Island of Doagh in the Nottingham Forest squad for their 4-4 draw with Blackpool in the Championship.

Forest are in 10th position and welcome Bolton Wanderers to the City Ground on Saturday.

In League Two, Plymouth Argyle are currently in seventh place, which is in the play-off positions, following their 2-0 win over Cambridge United on Saturday.

Lettermacaward native Carl McHugh played the full 90 minutes for Argyle at Home Park.

Plymouth scored twice in the final nine minutes with Ryan Brunt on target for the opener before Lewis Alessandra’s close-range finish.

Plymouth are away to Exeter City on Saturday.

Seamus Coleman’s Everton are in Switzerland for their last 32 first leg tie against Young Boys Berne in the Europa League tonight, Thursday, ahead of Leicester’s visit to Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

Everton’s last outing was a 1-0 loss against Chelsea in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

Closer to home, Ramelton native Barry McNamee is likely to miss the start of the season for Derry City after he picked up a knee injury against the Northern Ireland Juniors Select last week.

McNamee is expected back in a month or so. Derry won 3-0 last Tuesday night with Letterkenny native Cillian Morrison on the scoresheet.

Morrison, a native of Letterkenny, hobbled off on Tuesday night in Derry City’s 3-0 win over Institute in the Riverside Stadium in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup.